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Talkback: Feeding the birds

Poor little mouse. The profusion of ctas in my areas bugs the life out of me. Endless destruction of borders, faeces in the soil, dead birds. I cannot fathom why people (especially wildlife enthusiasts!!) keep these dreadful animals as house pets and then inflict them on their neighbours. And turn a blind eye to the destruction they cause to proper wildlife.


  • There's room for us all?? Not for the poor mouse and the birds! I'd have birds in my garden any day (and mice outdoors too!) but cats? No thanks. Keep them in the house if you want house pets.
  • ‘Proper wildlife’ indeed. Nature isn’t Chiswick in macrocosm, you know. You could keep all of the cats indoors, and the ‘proper wildlife’ would all still be brutalising and mutilating each other - not playing nicely together.
  • Feeding the birds
    how can I feed the birds and not the rats??
    We loved to feed the birds and were greatly enriched from their visits. But had give up when we were feeding rats they took over. help
  • Reply to Clive Rusby. Unfortunately rats are extremely common and able to exploit any food they can find, human or bird. I've always thought that casually discarding huge amounts of broken bread, seeds, or nuts on the ground is the best way to encourage rats, and does little for any other wildlife. The biologist in me thinks that if there is food enough for rats to scavenge off the ground, there is probably already food enough out there for birds — berries, seeds and insects. It is when snow covers the ground that birds are less able to forage so only then d we need to put out anything for our fine feathered friends. If you want to attract birds to a feeder to enjoy their antics and watch them close up I suggest a very minimal amount of seed/fat mix in a tiny plastic flowerpot or other container and hang it close to the kitchen window. Refill it regularly with small amounts. Spillage will be kept to a minimum to is less likely to attract rats, but the birds will learn to examine it regularly. Worth a try? Good luck.
  • We too have unfortunatly been feeding a rat whilst feeding the birds. I do not want to stop as I have done it for so long, and enjoy watching them.I also do the local bird watch survey.By the way, rattie is now no more !!
  • It is breaking my heart not being able to feed the birds because of the rats. As I am typing this I have a beautiful male cardinal (they're regular visitors to our feeders)sitting in a tree outside my window waiting for safflower seed I would throw on the ground.(bad mistake). Have ordered a "natural" rat deterrent. Will see if it works. I believe it is fox urine to sprinkle in and under house and around garden. Supposedly rats will flee the area.
    We'll see.
  • I feed the birds in feeders and have made firm friends with a Robin that sits right next to me whilst I go about my gardening.. My neighbours, throw everything for the birds on the floor and i have had mice in the house and now in the loft.. so be very careful! On the earlier subject of cats, I had so much cat mess on my garden at one point it was unreal, and I got so fed up with clearing it away,it was disgusting, then a stray cat picked me out as a new owner and I've had no further mess on my garden at all since his arrival into our home 7 months ago. Don't just blame cats for killing birds, a sparrowhawk around my area has killed at least 20 birds on my garden in the last year and thats what I have witnessed! Nature can be cruel, thats life I'm afraid.
  • Reply to Sassy Sarah. I too don't care for people who throw bucketloads of old bread out onto the lawn. They might as well be setting up a rat-breeding farm. However, some like blackbirds are ground feeders and prefer to dig about in the grass for their takings. I think the key is 'just enough, but no more'. When it's freezing cold (not just a bit parky) or there is snow on the ground, fair enough, but mostly we can let the birds find their natural food.
  • By feeding the birds I have encouraged rats and mice.

    I foolishly threw nuts on grass bank outside bedroom window only to wake up to find rat scoffing the lot.

    So kept all food contained in and around birdtable - all in containers.

    The feeding table itself has a cage to protect birds from squirrels/cats. This afternoon a mouse had found it's way in and was noshing fat ball I'd left out.

    Is there an answer?

    I would welcome any advice - don't want to stop feeding birds but rats and mice outside my kitchen window gives me the creeps!!

    Thanks a lot.
  • Reply to DirtyMitts
    If you live in a town or city, you will have mice and rats within a few metres anyway, in neighbouring gardens, in the street, local parks and yards. The basic premise is that the mice and rats, as scavengers, are taking what's left by other animals. If they are making a nuisance, it is because there is too much left, meaning that the birds are not eating it all, meaning that the birds are being given too much. Cut down on the amount you leave out. Only put out a small amount at a time, each day, rather than a large amount once a week. Good luck.
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